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Roxy Batliwala-Withers

Presenter affiliation(s)/organisation(s):


Session title:

To what extent do school leaders impact the retention of early career teachers in urban schools?

Abstract/brief summary:

This session would appeal to any prospective MA students, Early Career Teachers, or teachers aspiring to be in leadership/ leaders. The session will outline the project itself, including context, rationale, discussion of methodology , results and implications. This will all be supported by my reflections upon the research journey, and into the nitty-gritty parts of what this process actually holds.

Project abstract:

Teacher retention is an ongoing problem in the first five years of teachers’ careers, especially in disadvantaged schools. This research examined the relationship between early career teachers’ (ECTs) perceptions of their school leaders, against their intended length of time in schools. The purpose of this study was to:

  1. determine the relationship ECT retention and perception of school leaders
  2. establish reasons behind ECTs’ decisions to leave schools, and
  3. identify how ECTs perceive school leader’s actions to support and ensure retention within their school.

Recruitment used a snow-ball approach through social media. A sequential mixed-method approach employed 129 teachers in their first five years of teaching to complete online surveys, and six follow-up semi-structured interviews to explore survey findings further.

Findings from surveys demonstrated a significant moderate positive association between ECT intended length of time in school and their perception of the impact of leaders. Furthermore, correlational analyses revealed that ECTs that had not questioned their commitment to their school or the profession were more likely to rate the positive impact leaders had on their career.

Any qualitative data within the study was coded both deductively and inductively to discover four broad themes:

  1. Leaders Fostering Motivators;
  2. Positive Working Relationships;
  3. ECT Support; and
  4. Leaders as Investors.

Participants provided insight to the most valuable types of support; actions; and traits that leaders offer to promote their commitment to their schools. Recommendations can guide leaders to increase retention, and encourage them to realise their influence over retention, at an individual school level.